MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/16 September) – It’s back to 2001 in 2013 with the return of the Zubiri-Calingasan team for governor and vice governor.
Vice Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri will run again for Governor while Governor Alex Calingasan will run for Vice Governor in the May 2013 polls.
Zubiri, then a three-term Representative to Congress, and Calingasan, then mayor of Libona town, were elected governor and vice governor in 2001, and were reelected in 2004 and in 2007.
Since elected officials are disqualified from running for the same post after three successive terms, Zubiri and Calingasan swapped posts in the 2010 polls.
Zubiri, chair of the local political party, Paglaum (Hope), told MindaNews they have coalesced with the Liberal Party and have been talking with Senator Teofisto Guingona III, the LP’s regional coordinator for Northern Mindanao.
He said they have agreed to “respect the primacy of the incumbents” for next year’s line-up. Paglaum, he said, will support some of LP’s senatorial candidates.
Zubiri said part of the agreement is to field Malou Acosta of Liberal Party as the coalition’s candidate for the 1st congressional district presently held by Jesus Emmanuel Paras.
He said LP will not field candidates for representatives for the second and third district, where the incumbent representatives Florencio Flores Jr. and Jose Ma. III, Zubiri’s son, are allies.
But he said Paglaum will give way to the LP in the proposed fourth district, where they are eyeing former Vice Governor and LP leader Winifredo Agripo to run for Representative.
Zubiri said except for Quezon and Kadingilan, which he said will be “free zones,” the same agreement will apply in the rest of the 18 towns and two cities.
But he said “vacant positions” or those where there are no incumbents from the reported coalition “are still being discussed.”
The filing of certificates of candidacy for next year’s polls is on October 1 to 5.
Calingasan and Zubiri were reported to have parted ways in June when Zubiri accused Calingasan of allegedly conniving with his political enemies.
But they made peace in July in a meeting mediated by a group that included businessman John Perrine.
The supposed falling out fueled talks of Calingasan allegedly getting support for his candidacy opposite Zubiri for governor in 2013.
Zubiri then declared that Calingasan can run in 2013 but not with him in his political party, the Bukidnon Paglaum Party.
But this changed on August 16 during the convention of party members in Zubiri’s Valle Escondida residence in Maramag, where some 60 members chose Zubiri and Calingasan to run for the top posts.
Only three voters were reported to have picked Nemesio Beltran Jr. as their choice for Zubiri’s running mate.
Beltran, who was not in the gathering, was dismayed with the choice. He was in the House of Representatives for the hearing on the proposed fourth district at the time of the vote.
Beltran said Zubiri had advised him against running but he told MindaNews he would continue the fight “win or lose.”
He said he was banking on Zubiri’s earlier speech vowing to replace senior politicians with the younger breed.
But Beltran acknowledged that the vow cannot apply to Zubiri because “no one can replace him as of now.”
Beltran, however, noted that the public, including those active in the social networks, “are clamoring for homegrown, qualified, and talented leaders to replace those who have overstayed their tour of duty.”
Beltran launched his candidacy for vice governor through the internet last week. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)